tv Capital News Today CSPAN May 2, 2012 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
they dedicated the udtc memorial, and that was very touching, very moving, and it was great to be able to see a lot of the seal guys that get out and do it every day. your comment on seeing the flag and seeing, you know, the national anthem, "star-spangled banner," we were at a toby keith concert, and when he played "american soldier," that just -- every hair on my body stood up. my wife looked over, and i had a tear in my eye. they just don't get it unless you've been there, done that. i've got a 17, 18-year-old kid, and what's your advice to the next generation of kids that want to join the military and train in special op combatants or, you know, maybe not even special op combatant, but just join the military and support their country? thanks. >> host: chris kyle. >> guest: well, thank you for your service. i appreciate it. as far as the kids, you know,
i've got two kids myself, and i'm never going to push 'em towards the military, and i'm never going to push 'em away because one great thing, the military, it is a volunteer force. and if you're going to be there, i want it to be because you want it. and you're going to understand that honor that goes into serving your country. as far as preparing them, i mean, they need to know that when you sign up to go into the military, there's a very high likelihood -- especially now -- you're going to go to war. so just prepare yourself that you may be called upon by your country to put your life on the line and possibly give your life for everybody else's safety here. and a lot of people are saying, well, they don't understand why they're fighting over there, and that's fine. just -- you don't even listen to the people who are coming out against the war because what they need to be doing is protesting congress. or protest the president. all these politicians.
but leave the military guys alone. they're out there doing a job. it's an extremely honorable job. and you're going to have some of the best moments of your life, you're going to have a brotherhood, and you'll never lose contact with those people. they will be your family. but you're going to have some of the worst moments of your life. it's going to be your extreme ups and your extreme lows. so just be prepared. >> host: matt, yakima, washington. go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hi, chris. thank you so much for taking so much time and talking with us and speaking today. thanks for your service, thanks for your sacrifice, time away from your family and everything you've done. for the story, i can't wait to read your book. and for your advice that you're giving just with what we can do for really our neighbors, our family members that are coming
back not just a is simple, hey, thanks for the service, but, you know, what can we do for you. can you go more into that? and did you see "act of valor"? did you like that? >> guest: i did see "act of valor." i do like it. i watched it one time, it was a -- i don't know what they called it, but they gave us a special showing of it, and it was all us military guys in there. and it was definitely emotional. a lot of those different things. i was involved with because each of those missions were true missions. but it definitely hurt to watch it, and the next time i watch it, it will be in my own home with no one else around. as far as giving back to the guys and showing your thanks, it's simple little things, you know? if they own their house or, you know, if they have a house that has a yard or something, go mow their yard for 'em.
cook 'em something whether it's a meal or cookies, you know, come over and ask if, hey, do you need this chore done or that chore, whatever. it's just simple little things, and it will take some of your time, you know, depending on what you want to do, it could take five minutes or all day long. it depends on how much you want to do. but these guys are out this willing to die for you. i feel like now it's our duty to give back to them and to make sure that they know that we appreciate everything that they're doing. because i don't think most of the public fully understands and grasps what these men and women are willing to do for our safety and security. they're willing to the die for us. people that they don't even know and people they'll never meet, but they're willing to die for us. so the least we can do is take some time out of our days. and everybody's day, i know, is extremely busy. but it's not going to do anything but make you feel better inside because now we've been doing these retreats for
these guys, taking 'em out hunting, fishing, doing doesn't things with them just to get them out and say, look, i love you, thank you, this is what i'm going to do for you. so let's go do this. and there's other organizations out there. you know, one of them i've been involved with is called fitco. fitco cares hero project. when i got out, i started drinking a lot, and then i got way out of shape, i refused to work out, and i was depressed. so i started working out again finally, started getting back into shape, and when i did that, my head cleared up. so when i did that, i went to this guy, and i said, hey, this helped me. do you have some old equipment or something cheap that i can buy to help put in these vets ooh homes? because these vets, if they were like me, when you're out of shape, you don't want to go to a gym and then people look at you and go, oh, you used to be that? whatever. and then you feel bad about yourself or these guys that are coming back injured, they don't want to go to a gym and people
stare at 'em. so this guy turned this thing into a huge organization, a nonprofit now to where we're taking brand new, expensive equipment and putting it in these guys' and girls' homes so they can feel better within. but then it's also, has private trainers if you want it. it has therapists if you need it. we're not only just trying to get the body back, we're trying to help you in everything. because ptsd is nothing to be frowned on. these guys, they're still a part of the society. they gave to us. they can still be trusted. i mean, it's nothing to be looked down on. we need to help them. we owe it to 'em. >> host: chris kyle writes:
>> host: debbie in denver, you're on with "american sniper" chris kyle. >> caller: hi, chris. first of all, thank you for serving, and i just want to say that i come from a long line of military family as well, and i remember my dad and my brother both served in vietnam at the same time. and my mother was a tough cookie, boy, she just was real tough and thick skinned. and i remember as a child that we weren't allowed to ask or question either of them about the combat or the kills or anything like that. so now my son is a combat veteran, and he served -- he was in iraq in the second year of
the war. but when he came home, he was torn and suffered a lot, and he was injured, and i remembered that old, you know, that old thing that you don't question, you don't talk about it. so what's your thought on that? because i really wanted to reach out to my son, but i just was instilled with that boundary of you just don't cross. >> host: chris kyle. >> guest: well, as far as the not talking to him about it, you know, i think a lot of these guys that are having problems, you know, i think ptsd is something that no matter how much you talk about it, i don't think ptsd is going to go away. it's something that you're going to have to learn to live with and work around, but it is definitely something controllable and something that could be put to the back of your mind. ..
och no matter what you have seen or what you have done, i am here for you because you served for me and now i am going to serve you. as far as the rest of your family thank you so much for everything your family has done and i am really sorry that your son has gone through and made such sacrifices but i definitely wish him the best. >> here's the book. select the 12, the autobiography of the most lethal flight carrying u.s. military history. we have been talking with the
>> after that, we will re-air a program with chris kyle on his book "american sniper: the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in u.s. military history." >> for live events for tomorrow morning, the brookings institution holds a panel on tax policy. this includes alice rivlin and the former head of the office of management and budget. that is here on c-span 2 at 930 eastern p.m. eastern. on our companion network, c-span, the heritage foundation has a discussion of how to help veterans and their families. the form includes service groups and their programs for veterans. both at 10:00 a.m. eastern. spend a weekend in oklahoma city with "book tv" and american
history tv. saturday at noon, eastern, check in on literary life with "book tv" on c-span 2 am including governor mary fallin's political books. oklahoma university president and also rare books from galileo, copernicus, and others. sunday at 5:00 p.m. eastern, oklahoma history on american history tv on c-span 3. to rid the oklahoma city bombing memorial codesigner. look into african-american life in 1920s oklahoma and native american artifacts from the special collections at the history center. once a month, c-span's local content vehicles explore history and literary life of cities across america. this weekend from oklahoma city, on c-span 2 and 3. >> benjamin busch served two combat tours in iraq as a marine infantry officer. his memoir entitled "dust to dust: a memoir."
he talks about his childhood, marine training, and deployment to iraq. >> thank you. i think -- i think you all so much for coming out and inupt of support of stories and books. i wrote about. i'm kind of shocked, actually.tu it is my great pleasure tonighte my editor, matt weiland, who is pivotal in keeping me under control as i tried to craft t perhaps the most unlikely structured book in the history of writing.y i attempted to replicate fairlye closely the way we remember,we b which of course has no as k technology. he was kind enough to suggest that each chapter might just begin in my youth andprogreow chronologically progressed
towards its end, which is how it is in its final form. fi each chapter does reset to childhood. it does replicate in some waysin the pathways we remember. that is how this book was built. choosing elements and following them. if my hair catches on firehes tonight, please excuse that. i have dangerous amounts of hairspray on. [laughter] >> thank you.tions, i will read a couple of small selections that will give you a look into me and my book.i and i exist in this book as aist messenger.k this book isn't really about m. it is not a portrait of me or my family. it is not a biography or a memoir. it is a portrait of my perspective on what is mostmo important. the reader of this book is mostr important. hopefully what i have done willn
guide you into your own memory.o this is a book of the child's belief in memory and how thatho child echoes in our lives and dollarow our memories endure and preserve everything. in somein ways. we are very much a product of who we have always been, and i a think that most people knew me as a child, there are a few, he knew me when, back in norwich new york, ack in march new york are not surprised by the number ofthis end period yonder and delving into my memory which is what i had to do to make this book. i found myself on changed in many ways experience is all
changed. but the journey from where we began to where we end. from acting i'm going to read an early passage of my first public performance and then take it forward to my first serious performance in my mind on homicide >> so my father drug-testing the land which is and no way a labor for me because that is my natural place. while we were there the british were three serious about drama even in elementary schools so i got into a play known as queen bucha, and i will set the tone
for what comes later in my performance in homicide so here i am in england. i attended school studying vernon burton. the teachers organized a play with an early cultic leader who fought heroically against the control in britain. we can be legionary i wanted to be in a legion but i was cast as one of the war years. we've read referred to as barbarians, not celts' taken on the name given to people north of rome and we were considered a chord instead of an army. it seemed another step down. there were things and instructions on how to address the play. i should requirements to my father who looked us to them as if he couldn't read an addendum to my mother, a dark cloak. to make a shield she gave me a large piece of a grocery box and we cut the tomatoes printable
with a blue and paper. i said they were your barbarian or not would never emblazon the shield of such. i do undersized and dragons which looked like smudges in the distance and lightning from the center and the mother found a blood material she left over and fastened around my waist on the opposite side. i wore black shorts, no shirts and one of my father's stultz rap twice around my hips. the lasso my sword my mother was at a loss for how to make a sword. we finally cut strips of the cardboard glued them together and wrapped them in black plastic from a garbage bag. looked terrible. i was very disappointed. my father was happy to be free of blame and the errors that i found in the wardrobe armaments. my costume might have done well in america where the expectations were low but when i arrived in school i was immediately ashamed. some of the children can to class and a laboratory error that looked accurate replicas of
the uniforms. the parent had spent weeks working on them and the children were afraid to move for fear of tearing something that had been carefully glued. the barbarians ranged their interpretation and we looked like a hoard. they built a wooden jury alves horse costumes with papier-mache heads and bodies. have a blind people get around the room and the girl played and we followed. we rehearsed it for days. it consisted of nothing but full retreat in the room chanting angry nonsense reading my embarrassing soared lining up against the romans and then charging to my dramatic death. the day of the performance 100 parents of staff and several hundred students we dressed in our classroom and they marched into the auditorium. of the legion looked wonderfully imperial. but i was relieved not to have been chosen from rome, i can imagine how my armor would have looked if i had been left to
crafted from to mailbox. we assembled in the hall while the speeches were made inside and some point we were given a signal of the entrance. my parents said as we came in yelling i was a barbarian most notably smiling. they give a speech about liberty and then to attack for roman ranks failing to achieve our freedom. i rushed up the steps at the armour and he made a slash at me. this is my cue to perish. in the rehearsal i'd gone from the motions pretending slowly to pretend, but this was the performance. i threw myself back over the screen of my foot coming off the stage tossed into the air and i struck the floor with a snack that sounded loud even to me. i was told afterwards that half of the parents stood up and the play went silent for the deaths. i lay there not living with my arms extended and my eyes closed to control my breath. the teacher hurried to my side,
trying very hard not to let her voice sound hysterical. can you hear me, she asked, she had her hand on my chest and it was cold. yes i said trying not to move my lips. >> are you hurt, can you move? >> i whispered keeping my eyes closed but i heard my mother's voice in consultation and she withdrew and the play went on what more ways falling carefully in the foot of the stage and the sword strokes addressed to well for fighting. all of the men killed made another speech and was pulled out of the room by the teachers just as horses. i pretended that war again and killed in front of my parents. as my first memorable public performance and a blend of the professions would go on to
pursue most seriously. going forward, at this point i've graduated from an art degree which let me darkly to the marine corps which is a natural progression of anyone. i wore a heavy source of infantry officers and marine corps, and after my first active duty out of camp lejeune i came back to what was our first home and i wanted to get back into acting before of course immediately rejoining the reserves and spending another 14 years in the service of the course. so here i am in the end of my first tour as it were, 1996, a great deal of peace during that
period of time to read after the tour in camp lejeune in the infantry my wife and i moved into a little house in college park maryland, our first home together. i wanted to audition for homicide because it was a good television show and was filmed in baltimore only 30 minutes from our house. it wasn't thought the only local show at the time it was probably the only chance i had an significant role. i've given my head shots to the agent and i was called in to play an extra. they said nothing more than i would need to wear shorts and to bring slippers and a bathrobe. i arrived on the set excited to be in the production and production assisted me to go to hair and makeup and i was informed that i was to play a corpse, which was disappointing. i sat shirtless as my def was applied to me. i was covered with a pale paced as i thought i would be seen in a partially owns a body bag and a large head wound sculpted on to my forehead with wax and shades of black paint.
it was an impressive wound. i dressed in my government slippers and got into another which might have been the same and was driven a walk to set. in a small warehouse separate from baltimore by the dock with a water more it had been built for the show which often brought to examine the fictitious dead. there were extras are then allowed coats and the crew setting up in the room for the shoot. i restricted to the stainless steel and slid into the body bag. even the rooms he to the table was cold. another with a pad as if taking notes on what could only be the most obvious cause of death in the history. as i lay there i did not participate in the banter dever insignificant players and i wanted to be noted as a professional focused. i heard them speak their lives while i kept my eyes closed then standing as suggested they
continued elsewhere. i remained on the table. i did not speak. i waited as the actors were brought back and i held my breath and controlled my instinct to shiver until they called cut but then when they had seen me they would believe that i was not alive. but again to shuttle people away for lunch which was set up somewhere down the street and the actors disappeared along with the crew that i leave on the table. i had no intention of moving until directed to do so. the lights clicked off and the warehouse grew quiet and i could hear footsteps in the back and things being moved but it was abandoned kuwait i sat up in the body bag. i was alone. i haven't followed the herd of the building to wait for the right and had them left behind. it occurred no one was calling to direct me anywhere. i slipped out of the bag and walked backstage and found my bathrobe and slippers and walked
outside. it was december and baltimore. bitter cold and i didn't know the area very well. the member of the crew was walking back and i asked if there was a shovel coming back. he seemed surprised to see me and gave directions to the church where catering was laid out to be i would have to walk. i began to hit the street in my bathrobe and slippers my bear legs feeling strange the cold wind struck them i felt remarkably exposed. i walked across the street where people were christmas shopping and felt myself being noticed. i smiled a couple unsure what they thought they were witnessing. i had forgotten how my head must have looked. there were many people stumbling around baltimore with one this regard i could have been one of them seen with imaginary heat and the chill of winter. i arrived in the church where the vans were parked and went in the front entrance as i stepped through the large wooden doors i looked directly into a classroom of black children and promptly
went silent. it took me a moment to see lunch was downstairs in the church basement i stood blanched a gaping wound in my forehead and a bathrobe. the children scared as the white man descended the stairs and joined the rest of the damned beneath church. after we eight, the shuttle returns to the set where i laid back on the table and finished the scene. afterwards come here and make it was busy cities the white designed for removing makeup and i dressed in my regular close. i drove home with the makeup on. i stopped at a 711 and bought a soda. the texas senate clerk pretended to notice i had been killed. he was very polite. at home i looked at myself in the mirror. it was good work. the split skin on my forehead i began to wash it off in the sink mice can read with the wones
shuffle off. later i watched the episode i appeared briefly in the background of focus on recognizable my wound on noticeable and all the attention paid to the hills surrounding me were impossible to see. i was as the dead are blurred and transformed, faded. a year later i was called in to audition for a serial killer and returned to baltimore. in the series finale in winter again, i was killed, the loss, on the show, and i laid there for hours in a pulitzer up, my here actually frozen to the sidewalk. i lay there in the trend it takes as the crew piled blankets on me and i wanted to be professional, didn't complain and i didn't move. i held my breath while the world film. when the episode aired, my parents said they couldn't
watch. so everything old is new again. that gives you a little look into how i've kind of taken everything. i've always wanted to be professional. i've always found that suffering is in some way necessary for me to continue living and have enjoyed joining into efforts that require we can only say discomfort throughout my life in some way or another. and it's built in some way to ibm. a secret enthusiasm that which many of us would prefer to avoid. something about that, the unknown that has always fascinated me. that gives you a look into me which provides the context as i said for the messenger. the rest of the book will hopefully guide you more, and to
you like to go into the war and i do go into my family, my other and father especially who were there during many of these critical moments in my early childhood and of those moments have echoed and what i discovered of course and searching through memory was that i could restore then after it lost them and that is the way i discovered to be the true power of the memoir and of this book and some people that have read it have been taken back to their childhood that's what i want and that's what makes me feel like i have finally done right is when there's that shared experience in some way disparate though our past is, we were all children and we had a childhood better for worse and very much of the we are right
now. how much time am i running? am i doing okay? should i read some more? >> i where the official uniform of the writer, which is a thick poor kroyt jacket which i will not hesitate to tell you is made out of pure heat. i'm going to slide this off if you don't mind triet >> something small >> i'm going after large
subjects in this book. i have to paint myself a little bit to serve as a conduit for what i've discovered in my time, and of course it's so much about time, something i've been concerned with my whole life for some reason. even as a child i felt i never had enough, never enough time. i was obsessed with permanence and the idea that i could somehow plays into the world something which would endure long beyond me my father being a writer of course did that in the book and in some ways life sound that possible with this but in my youth it was stone, and of course i learned things about stone. a small piece from the beginning of the chapter near the end here
>> ash is a substance without a real attachment to government and it's not a part of the rebirth. it exists only as aftermath, a product of five-year and tragedy, the stain in the ground and wind and it's made by the particular destruction of life down to its telemental carvin, our black poor. something has to dhaka absolutely to become ashe. he was buried in hot - hot enough to few people in its mass and then burn them so completely that only the empty volume of the bodies remained trehalose bases in the settled in verse. been poured into molds by archaeologists that the debt assumed before disappearance. we know the most about roman life because of the city, the odds of the destruction
preserved. it's much more to take out the ash that my father dugout with a small shovel once a week. the - had its own pa compost but both decreased in size as the attitude. i didn't think much as the ash as i carried out into the snow it look like crash in the galvanized pail. i would jump on the snow in watch as it melts its way to the older - underneath. in the summer i spent long days digging in the dumps that held treasures around pool velte, pieces of china dolls, medicine bottles and the brittle twigs from the jars would emerge as i carefully excavate of the household garbage pits. most of them had already been discovered and hastily by two brothers. they made a name and the bottles they found.
i was left to sit through the mist. the - left tarnish on the bottles and protected them with soft piles and i found marbles, teacups, razors and porcelain doorknobs. i didn't consider one else was in the ashes, the fires and stoves and hearts of the town burned everything down. the forces before empty into the endless berman, love letters, journals, books and secrets of the families with ms. dippers, broken plates and animal bones. they were all there in the ashes that fell to those were still recognizable. i really found what i truly sought. i remember making a trip with my father in a nearby college town of hamilton for the newspapers. it was an adventure to see the landscape every time in the winter i wonder what lead covered under the bronx and the snow. i imagine them to be dumps with vanished homesteads to be almost
all the remaining houses along the road fired on their porches and the trail of smoke from the chimneys. you could see the wood burning in the cars as the past could i remember it clearly. the shuttle of the car rippled as we move changing to the ground, flickering on the stocks and the telephone poles and fences. we were like soot on the snow, deformed and recognizable. a child's charcoal drawing of the station wagon. i can see myself small in the window expanded on the impossible suddenness and my father in front driving to block the sun as we passed over the countryside late in the afternoon like a cloud of smoke that was known to us. i've seen cities destroyed in my life, people buried common graves dug up. i've lived outside of the
elements and i know that everything is recomposed from pre-existing matter that we were all fragments from earth gathered up. pieces are from stores and meteors, the ocean, burt and the dead. we will not be able to keep these pieces evert, our bodies are doomed to be given back to the ground. i've been presented all the evidence of every particles part and universal transience and decided to believe none of that so, dust to dust. going to allow the territories with a little heavy book. i hope he will follow me. it's a book about killing of the universe. so, i hope that you'll join me in doing so as you read this. now what is my distinct pleasure and honor to have discussion with george packer.
whose book, by the way, it's fantastic. [applause] >> we will pass this back-and-forth while we talk. >> so, where did you learn to write? because your memoir is a beautifully written book but it's not the book of someone that seemed destined to be a writer, because you are always in the world object. you are always making in the building forts and airplanes and building weapons, you're main relationship seems to be with the physical world, yet you've
produced this book of the water resole, so does your father teach you, how did you become a writer? >> i am obsessed with the tactile. we can make objects that live beyond us. the book is that object also. but i didn't grow a hole in the earth. i spent my time in the dirt and stone. and that's where i kind of developed this very visible and direct relationship with my landscape, my space, and i come from a visual background in my mind, and the book is i think written to be understood in some
ways visually. i focus on trying to make sure that we can feel and see a good space as we read through it but i grew up in the house of words my father being a letcher and my mother library to actively river language and -- >> although you could have rebelled, and maybe you did before long time and so i'm not going to go through that group. i'm going to be an infantry officer of a studio artist. >> other dooms. >> that's a good point, but i think i was so kinetic that i wasn't involved in language so much. my expression came from construction in some way even if a was art or print or drawing. that is how i spoke and how i
thought i was most effective, and it was being in iraq that forced my hand because all i had was the letters home and i had to express those things which were kind of monumental discoveries in the environment which i didn't have images for i couldn't describe them visually that way, so i literally had to find language, and it was then that i discovered experience could be transferred through words in a way that i had never imagined was possible despite the fact that we had plenty of adventure books. >> you mean when you were in iraq of the ways of expressing yourself have been cut off, and the need to express was more alive than ever so letters were the one way that you found to do it. >> my voice emerged and that's where i found my order for words
and even then i did agonize over sentences and words to i knew that to my father words were important and they could be the wrong word and i didn't want to go down that path, so i strove to find language which was exact, even though it's from one perspective. >> out of know where i received these letters from a complete stranger back in 2007 when the war was going on to and to me they announced here is a marine. i read a number of iraq war memoirs, yours is not as you said. you seem determined almost to refuse it as an iraq war memoir. you didn't read about the war.
it's not announced being about the war and that is probably why is because it is in the kind of book is. all those books in my mind some of them are good, some of them are not so good, none of them are like yours, they all have the same mess which is about the war, so were you in your letter so that the beginning in the dhaka kind of a public place in setting up the book or you actively trying to tell your readers in a sense don't expect what you think to expect. this is going to be something else. it isn't going to give you the symbol ratification about a young man at war. islamic it's not unlimited progression. it's not a linear narrative that we expect. it's also not confined in some ways. most memoirs focus on a period of time chronologically with a
very particular pass that either leads nowhere or describes it as the picture of a person and their life or the spread over an entire period of time to read mine wasn't so much to describe me but was to describe all of the things that i have found to be from a different perspective. as a child i had a different perspective something as simple as stone. as a child when i went to london with my parents, there were castles still preserved, and thus in mind as a child of a assumed okay then stone is the medium of perpetuity. i will work in stone and i became a stone mason. >> everything was built out of stone because i knew that it would endure because i'd seen councils in the 1200's and they
seemed fine, and there was all i needed. the was my empirical data and of course as you follow the chapter you get a sense for my reference for that substance, that very solid thing and of course it necessarily has to take me into the war a bit where i find myself standing in a desert composed of sand, and the sad realization of course is that this is stone. these are the mountains, you know, and yes, much like the book says, we are briefed in some ways. nothing is permanent, but in some ways we also never disappear. even our cash and carbon. it goes back into life, and stone flows from mountains to disserts which go to the c. term, pressed down and become
stone again, so stone actually does indoor is just not that stone. >> i think there is a trajectory. each chapter recapitulates the growth, growth and decay which is how our nature but the book unfortunately also has a trajectory which leads towards a kind of wisdom but also a recognition i hate to say it but it's true of mortality and you began as a boy who is fearless or isn't phyllis but is convinced that you can write out anything that comes your way. the fear is overcome which is a part of the testing which must have been a part of what led you to join the marine corps. we all want to know how we will do under fire at least some of
us do. but toward the end of the book, it asserts itself more and more and more so their must have been in organizing in your mind of those chapters and those episodes from the elements that allow you to stay in the protective of a child toward the world of the adult certified def by the end of the books of the u.s. and with ashes, that is the last element of the vote book. >> what else can you end with? throughout the book is the power of the belief of the child. we have believed as children to encourage in some ways, and one of them is in mortality. something you are not concerned with. def happens to other people why errors or failure or polis to
sustain you and your parents are protecting you, and the idea of our continuation is not one that we question at times tried our parents survival is not something that we question. these are permanent truths for a child. you cannot convince a five-year-old that their parents are going to die. you can see it in their face. they will this believe you. >> although they will want to know all about death and at least in my experience, maybe even 4-year-olds. but at the same time, they don't imagine that it will happen. >> only to nixon. >> is he dead? >> i had to tell my son that he is. we saw his picture in the newspaper and wonder where he is and can we have him over for
dinner. estimate the trials of being a packer. you are hitting on something which is essential in the book and that's really not -- i came back from iraq on my daughter's first birthday and i have seen her born and had gone to ramadi ethical of staff to make a -- the was thick with def in it was a very violent time and that war is the place was most committed to continuing at in some ways. there's my daughter and she didn't know who i was and i was dropped back into fatherhood and i was beginning to grapple with what that really meant. and immediately my father died and followed jury closely within a year by my mother curious and in that process of course i went from being a child to an orphan
to being a father and having a child, and the cycle was rapid and i was immersed in the sudden realization that everything could be lost even in my late 30's i thought it had been impossible and is believed in my parents' death i couldn't restore them or bring them back, but the child is believed it and fiercely even though there is a clothing of rationing over that which is this is what happens, this is the realization of mortality, and i think the book began to be born at the moment because it was then that i realized in chongging to remember or trying to kind of follow this defiance to its source but of course going back my parents were still there. that's what my memory was.
i did restore them. i think that's kind of -- >> he became a father just in time to realize that you're father was going to see the same experience of you as a parent which is bittersweet to save the same. estimate it made me realize the importance of the moment i have with them because i know that they will echo and there are things i can say in words matter, in telling them stories and things like that that will someday come back to them and who i am to them as who i will be when i'm gone. >> can you have conversations like this in the marine corps? >> to add to that, i know a guy that is an army corps in the vietnam and he said to me throughout his time there she took away his sold. that's how he put it, to be a
good brigade commander, to be a leader of soldiers he stopped being a writer and stopped thinking about writing. he put it away in order to get through it because they were going to get at each other's way if he didn't do that. did you do that or did you have a private space where all of this was contained? >> you can get away with anything in there. believe me, i tried to read i was having these ideas because i see you're saying to you have to be an entirely different person, do you have to in some ways so worried yourself from the intellectual creature that has the curiosity i was an artist of war which is a strange combination to many people was always intertwined their
independent spirit as the mckiernan as a boot camp was the guy that went to the women's college which wasn't necessarily a complement. >> they didn't call me a girls' school after that because a corrected them if. much to their chagrin i did have my own mind of pride in my background, and i paid for it, but they didn't call me girl school after that, they called me college. >> consider that a promotion. >> i will take that. but no, i think the fascination i have in the world of nominee, which the art is fascination, and that curiosity you can trace all the way to the job is how i make worked for the gush and films and in the end find language that benefited me tremendously when i was in iraq
when we were trying to find the nuances in a way that we didn't understand, and is because of that kind of heightened fascination i think that i was able to watch instead of talk over a lot of that demand for what effectiveness i could have had if i had any that's what was born from was the art and what's going on here. >> pay attention, not just acting. estimates also associated with the military, and the marine corps to its credit gives everyone the fuel initiative and that is under the commanders intend to accomplish it as you feel best suited. i did have to wear a certain disposition bucked i didn't compromise to why was.
>> did you share this with other marines, did the men on your command know that you took pictures and made things? >> i wouldn't say that there was an open martelle ileana war, but in the first tour and i've said this before i carried it like i couldn't be killed because it was expected of me, i wasn't concerned for my life but even in a moment of the book. sprigg there's a wonderful section he didn't read that you must when you read his book in which he said a town council meeting in southern iraq is trying to work out early government and the first question that comes to him is can we plug up this whole and euphrates that has been dug in order to irrigate the fields of
saddam hussein's life, yes, and the mother of his psychopathic children. everyone in the town is determined to plug this up, but they are bringing it to the marine major in charge who holds the vote, and it's a little piece of early democracy in iraq may be not to be repeated very much but a unanimous vote we are going to plug it up and in the middle of this bid t-note from a six-year-old boy which says how does it go word for word. >> he will die tonight by the line of iraq signed. estimate buy not going to give away what happens next but it's an incredible scene. >> they didn't get me. >> they didn't get him. but also i would say the water
came through for you at that moment. you put on a performance in front of these iraqis that showed them he wasn't going to be messed with and he was a good guy and had his effects of its kind of a perfect scene of the dhaka that fought for the situation just to know how to react in a moment when people would have freaked out there is not a lot of truth in a question and answer session and you have to asked from all the way around the subject to get to different lives in order and find a small piece of truth to find in some ways what is true but there was some truth in there they were not a cleft.
americans are fond of a very simple and productive. if i say i'm going to pay you $10 been this building today and do it at what time will be good, 10:00 tomorrow and the people will be here, wonderful, and you need to come back the next day and renegotiate. $10 to expand back yesterday and see what happened seven days a row i would come at 10:00 and renegotiate ended up with $10 again every time but the work wouldn't be done. but i couldn't be offended because the would be offensive, so this is the constantly putting myself and my little black box understanding how for
starting these things are allowed us to be there and native solutions to a rise in the form and encourage it did them try to make that effective, but there was mind-boggling for me because i came from a culture that is so different not because - right. i'm in the right place for my solution at the time. >> i remember once sitting on a meeting with an army captain and three local tribal leaders and baghdad and after a long discussion about why they were not stopping guys from planting on the road one of the iraqis finally said to the american you really should look at how the british did this. recently he was saying we need to have a more complicated than
a lover of conversation in the when you are capable of having a i agree to do this, you do that it's a deal. we should on the paint. it doesn't work that way. estimate to allow yourself to be frustrated with mchugh ineffective and the issue further and further for any kind of potential discussion which is necessary. all discussion they're all entirely or old people. there is nothing written into the power of the story because you can do a lot of the border by floating a story, and i did effectively i would tell the story and i knew that would have an effect all along the route. i have 1800 pages of the finely written notes that are useless
now, but i was trying to figure out family tree is congress trying to figure of towns relationships by reaffirm family and why this group is angry at this group and why they wouldn't cooperate on this type and i was diagraming the area in some ways the way the british approach things not. that's how you have to handle it. an answer political situation and religious issue we were just there but iraq was going to be what it was fought but we didn't have that realization of the time we thought we are going to come under and introduce democracy and of water and it's the 90's carelessness that we tend to approach these things who turned on the way it's so great. this is a tribal culture that's been repressed for 35 years and
the best we could do was restore the corruption that had existed before just to make sure that something functioned. >> do you think you'll ever go back? >> yes. >> do you want to see particular people or you just want to see -- >> i want to see my first town. the iranian border at some point as long as i'm not going to notes. i'm not going back. i had a much better with a camera and a paper but i would be interested because i knew as i was there that was being transformed. i knew the introduction of ideas was dangerous enough men place so closedowns it is everywhere in afghanistan and, you know, you want to put a positive spin which is hard to do but the mere introduction of the people and
ideas, even if it's you think wrong a decade is a long time or isn't a long time if you look to the history of the place and its traditions, but we are big trading partners with vietnam and we have to assume at some point because of our presence for worse, some for better that some things we fought and some things we introduced. i can't track those moments, and i can't give us credit for anything in vietnam other than the terrible destruction, but at the same time, it is a different place now. it thinks differently, and iraq has in some ways changed by the introduction of things. we didn't introduce the greatest stuff because we didn't introduce it competently, but we did show another way.
>> that's the most hopeful thing i've heard about iraq in a very long time. >> you are not putting any optimistic -- it says things that people haven't heard for a long time. and i think that your book is a way for american readers to go back to iraq without having to do it head-on. i don't think americans are going to want to forget about this for a long time. i found that to be true. >> we forgot about it while we were there i'm sure you had the experience that so many marines and soldiers that came home and found it after the first two minutes. no one wanted to know and no one had a clue but now p.m. nisha is more active, and your book -- your book because it's something so different from any book by anyone who wore the uniform in
that conflict i think will allow the readers back there without generating the resistance and the books and movies about iraq are not generated. >> to talk about iraq there are some of those moments which were part of our infancy together, iraqis and americans against each other, but also together kiddies' some places and the result means aftermath of conflict which was cruel and to the point you see people. >> there's a line in your book you reach the point of pointlessness and it's a disturbing sentence. >> that's when you come to
unfortunately almost no matter what the conflict is born of that's the result when you lose things and that extremity when you lose lives directly people you know you wonder how you can account and reckon that with something which we essentially considered at that point to be and in just mentioned for the wrong reasons justified by nothing after a long period of occupation and people were still dying and there was complacency at home that said we support the troops but they didn't get the war act and the strange conflict between the two feelings you couldn't tell and everyone was generally to continuing the war but they didn't stop it, no one forced it to end and it increased as time went on, so there was a kind of confusion
for a lot of people. exactly what is the point of this i found it for something to read i didn't join the marines to learn how to so pyrrophyte joined how to fight and to be sent into a noble mission. that is the hope of course. >> it was easier to see in 2003 in ramadi and in 2006 and ramadi it was perfectly to see. sorry, we've gone on of it. it's been wonderful conversation. questions? >> should i ask something of myself? >> nothing? this is going to be good. >> the first observations were
very astute in terms of the riding being built and tangible, and your work outside of the memoir is so firmly based in fiction, a memoir to me is so striking because there isn't anything in it that isn't true. every word that it asks you where the helicopters are crashing they say why don't you say seriously? that's what it said. i use that word to read everything in your book is real but in your work outside of the war or fenimore it is the opposite. could you talk a little bit about your philosophy of the real versus fiction in your creative work? >> how many hours do we have? that's a fantastic question. and the question is what is my approach, what is my thinking of the difference between writing the absolute truth nonfiction
and writing fiction of course i write films and the preeminent editor frank reynolds is here that cut my new film, our new film, and that is all fiction that the same time i wrote that film while i was finishing the book and they are very much about the impossible search for a child or a steep with some characters so i think life always rubs into your work in firms and gives you a device under this material because it comes from something that you are -- that you know, not just my father had a poster on the hemingway quote all you have to do is write one true sentence and in some ways that justifies everything else. estimate it justifies being accompanied bastard that hemingway was. >> yes. to a conclusion, all is well
that ends well. [laughter] but, you know, that idea that life is always pushing into your heart, it's part of the gathering. i think that artists are gatherers, we are picking up images and ideas and we are keeping the baskets and we wait for some of them to meet, and i think that this may be some of my best work of fiction which i haven't done very much of. most of my work has been non-fiction and your right to point out the book has very little dialogue because i was an absolute about that. if i couldn't remember exactly what was said, i wouldn't write the conversation and you see a lot of the memoir with tons of dialogue when people are five and, you know, they have better memories than i do. i have a photographic memory for space and places and i can
recount actable digital locations very accurately but i can't remember what said except in some particular circumstances, and so that's where the dialogue actually comes up in the book and things i remember quickly are wrote down at some point as being very clearly verbatim of what was said, but it's so limiting i found that first reading because there's a number of scenes i had to give away because i knew i could only did the spirit of them and it didn't have the power that i needed, it didn't have the line that my father said. i can remember around the line. i knew what the point of the line was but i can't remember the language of it and turn off quote someone so particular in the language is an offense that i couldn't come at, and i did that with everybody. so, writing fiction is liberating because i can have your say anything i want, you know. if i want to conversation to exist, i just write it and i can
change the words and keep on crafting at. for the book i crafted every sentence really but they were towards a particular end that i couldn't escape. the conditions, they were the conditions, and i had to describe them, it was just the description for the right words to do that in a way that i thought a reader would be able to see what i was saying. .. together in some way through the book. so that's a great question.
>> the question of a relationship with your father, knowing your father both of you in your way are rather obsessed with the notions of what a real man should be from your point of view a real man shouldn't, you should be able to actually fix something rather than say fix. on either hand, you're father had a powerful world view about the psyche of a man and what a good man was and should be and i wonder how in writing about thin book some of your childhood seems to be a rebellion response to the intellectual and you're father was and i read a love for you to dhaka little bit about
where you sure these ideas. >> i don't know that we ever. rebuild against that. kno i justw was kinetic on and it the environment from a distance. i couldn't stand the distance. if he was going to write about something out in the field, he would observe the field from a safe distance, and gather the words he thought necessary to explain what that was. whereas, i would run out in the field and stack rocks and play with it. we were very different in the ways that we explore the world period he was also a constant explorer and gather. the kids building walls in his
fiction books, follow me, i'm in there. i appear briefly as a child because he is drawn from watching it. this is what child is in the country. i am watching him from a distance. i wanted to be a night period that was the job for me. i wanted to be an archaeologist, a fighting archaeologist. that is actually a line from master and commander. a fighting botanist or something. >> and indiana jones kind of thing? >> yes, that's the dream right there. it was when i was in england where i would be embraced. i was in the tower of london, we were surrounded by weapons. the castle was right on the
road, the queen was right down the road. i went to one of the beefeaters in a red uniform and black lace, and i tried to be british. i set i should like to be a liar. it is not in the book, but he could tell it was american. he said the american, aren't you? and i said yes. he said we don't have any work of that sort for you. he said you have to be british. i was crushed. i said to my dad that we have to do something about my passport. i can't be a knight muslim british. and i'm sure my father was like oh, goodness, and of course, he is a fiction writer. down the line, i could be a night period.
and then i would get obsessed with building a plane, and he would eventually have to curb my enthusiasm by something. he would have to come to the story. it would have to be real. the rest of my lifetime i would believe that story. forever i have been worried about the t. because of the plane that i couldn't finish building in the alley, because i had some admissions being a yankee. so, yeah, my impulses were clear. the marines were as close as i could get. it shouldn't surprise anyone who knew me. even when i went to vassar. i ran into the marine corps
school. vasser was still a shock. but my experience parents some peace about. briefly afterwards. and they were very proud. it took them a period of shock. a parents job is one of the hardest in the world. it is to protect the child always. and i was a child who is just chasing it. if there was a line, between safety and risk, i had 1 foot on the line and 1 foot on risk. i knew they were reaching, though. they also couldn't give me. that is what made them crazy. [laughter] how they approached that come i can tell you. >> can i ask a question to follow up on that? since he became an orphan and have you moved over towards the safety side of the line since
they are no longer there to reach for you? >> i left the marine corps. after the tour, came back on her birthday. i left 16 years. sixteen years of retirement, no benefits. i walked hold. and it was because i knew that i would continue to go back until they brought back. you know, in a bag. probably. because afghanistan was that for not for me. and i wanted to go. it is hard for me to see marines deployed now. it is very hard for me. a personally pulls at me and i feel a certain level of betrayal. i feel responsible, always, former means. it is something that they've read into memory and leadership. marine will tell you. it is one of the hardest steps they will ever take. it was one of the hardest
decisions i ever made, was to leave. and the marine corps didn't care. under the organization was like, okay. no worries. we will put another one there. and you didn't notice me coming or going, because that is what the organization is. it's much like the earth. we rise and fall. the earth continues to turn. but for me, it was traumatic in some ways. seeing them deployed there now is very hard for me. not because i think they were being well led, but because i want her. [laughter] you know? we all have different ways of seeing our environment. >> he became a father at the same time, and that must have something to do that, too? >> that was a decision that i had to make. will i be a father to people who are my children, which is the job of a marine commander, or will it be bothered to this little girl and all she had to do was look at me.
she won pretty easily. but it doesn't change the feeling of that decision. which will forever be regret, even if it is not reasonable. much like everything i believe, which is unreasonable. i believe it fiercely and enthusiastically. thank you so much, then, and i hope everyone will buy your book and read it, and also learn from it. [applause]
i don't regard this as just a biography of lyndon johnson. each political power in america are saying this is a current political power seeing what a president can do in a moment of great time of great crisis, how he gathers all of that, what does he do to get legislation moving to take command and washington. that is a way of examining
power. i want to do this in full i suppose it takes 300 peaches so that's why i said let's examine this. mitch and kevin on their book no way out an account of a special forces operation afghanistan in 2008. soldiers in the unit were awarded civil stars. the most for any unit since the vietnam. this is a little more than halfe an hour. [applause] >> thank you for coming. we appreciate your being herellg here. what we thought we would do what wenot only the story and ae
guys in the book, but also how the book came about and how we found the story and put it together. and anyway will wrapping up what it all means now, it even resonates today. it resonates now and the reasons why it things that happened in the book are happening now. before i get started, if you have a question, even in the middle, ask them. we would like to get a good conversation going. let's start from the beginning. i was working at the associated press and i was covering for them. and i was told by the command about the story. about shok valley. at the time, they were going to award 10 silver stars to the team members involved in this mission. it is the third highest medal for valor. of course, that piqued my
interest, and i went up and did a bunch of interviews. as we get into the story, you will realize that the story is something about the team -- there was something about the team in the mission and something about the story of what happened that i could not shake. after i wrote the story, it was widely praised all over the country. it stayed with me. we had been talking for a long time about doing a book together. i was getting ready to leave the ap about going to afghanistan. this book is sort of landed in our laps. it was a story that we felt compelled to tell because it was just much bigger than all of us. one of the important things as an author or journalist is telling a story. and that is really important.
when kevin came to me with the idea about the shok valley battle into a book, i said wow, let me read about the battle. and i called up kevin, i looked at what had been written. this was a major news event. it was covered not only by the ap and the "washington post", the story went out almost all across the country. why not? it was a heroic mission. there were 10 men caught in battle and they earned 10 silver stars. the only part of this mission was they slept with the enemy and the shok valley. you have to understand where shok valley is. it is a remote province -- this remote area in northeastern afghanistan. and it is a place where we started doing our research
before we decided to do the book. this was a really remote part where no one had gone before. we looked at it and we said, you know, why would they set off on this mission? when you're writing a book, you try to do the backgrounds you can find out more about it. we said wow, this is a very good story. but the key to telling a story is getting the cooperation of the people who are involved. it was decided that this would be a good book, because this is the story the american public should know about. this is a heroic battle. it involves special forces. we called some of the soldiers to ask them what they consider
being part of the project to tell what happened? efforts, they were reluctant. we didn't know why. there were so many stories written about it, but there was so much publicity, we thought at the time that they didn't want that much publicity. these guys are elite soldiers. they are doing their job. they didn't want any credit for what happened. he continued to call them and ask, and finally, we had a meeting that was set up with some of the soldiers, including sergeant scott ford and others who were an integral part of the team, john wayne wadling. we talked about what we wanted to do. we wanted to write this military
narratives of people could see what happened there. the heroic acts that took place. they didn't want any publicity averse because of the publicity that surrounded the book. they didn't want any credit. they looked at what i had written, and mainly to people like kevin. he has had a terrific relationship with special forces. they said, we will let you write the story. but there is only one thing. we want you to tell the truth about what happened. as a journalist, and both of us are journalists, we thought, courts are going to tell the truth. and they said no, we really want to tell the truth, what happened, during the mission. that really intrigued us because we thought the story was about the valley.
but it was more than just the valley and battle that went on. >> this is kind of how we wrote the book, too. we talk a lot about how we got to the story. let's talk about the story. we keep saying the mission in the battle. let's talk about the battle. as mitch mentioned, it is in the northeastern part of afghanistan. it cannot be more remote. it is also a cul-de-sac that goes nowhere. it is up near the himalayas. the only way in was by foot or by helicopter. trying to get there was -- initially, it was tough. what they were doing is up there
trying to get haji ghafour. he was a terrorist group, essentially, that had some association with al qaeda and some sort of truce with the taliban. these guys were nasty characters. they are a lot of foreign fighters, guys that aren't really there to fight against -- to fight for afghanistan, where they are there on their own agenda, and what they were doing in the area was repressing people to fight. he was also credited with a series of ambushes which i caught the attention of some of the commanders. they decided they had to go up to shok valley to get haji ghafour because he was able to export a lot of violence from the safe haven.
the idea was to go get him and take care of the safe haven. what they ran into was not only were they fighting to geography, because it was such a harsh place to get you, they were also fighting restrictions that were placed on units now in afghanistan. we have all seen the news, right? night raids are highly regulated. who control the battle states is highly regulated. one of the things they were going into was how to get there, what the helicopters could do. and also when and where they would be allowed to go. essentially what they came back what was the idea that they were going to fly to the valley, land in the valley, land in the valley, unload their soldiers and then fly off. the team initially wanted to fly to the top of the valley, the top of the village and then that broke down. but because of restrictions and because of what the pilots were comfortable doing. they ended up having to settle
for this mission, which was to land in the valley and unload their troops. which anyone who knows any kind of basic fighting -- a. fighting uphill is never a good idea. you never want to do it. if you can take that, you want to. so then they had to decide if it was riskier to fly to the top of the village or have them get up the hill before the bad guys got up there. that is sort of where the team was left on the morning of the mission, which is where the book starts. they get up in the morning. they know they have to do this in the mountains of afghanistan the weather has argued delayed the mission once or twice. and they all have this sinking feeling that they don't know if this is a good idea. that feeling is one of the things that propelled the book and it propelled us because it is very rare that you get soldiers that have universal bad
feelings like that, and the candor to say i'm a not and not only do we have this bad feeling, but we said we don't really want to do this mission. that sort of starts the book, and it also starts them on this path and it also gets them in the middle of the ambush. >> that is very critical what kevin just mentioned in the book. you don't usually get soldiers with those types of feelings. captain kyle walton, it was his plan. don't fight uphill, try to have the element of surprise. tactically, he knew that it was unfair. he took his concerns to his commander. and his commander -- it was very important to this mission. as kevin said, he helped is men
with the operation, and as they later found out through the fbi and cia, some of those gems had showed that showed up in a junk shop in arizona. going back to the valley, the captain of the team knew that tactically that this plan was flawed. even though they knew it was flawed, they knew that they were in critical danger, they had to get to this compound where haji ghafour was surrounded -- they had really been trained in fighting, they still went and
they still went to carry out this mission. kevin can describe what happened once they landed. >> they take off from a base on the border and they fly into this valley. there is some concern about the weather. there is a certain window that they have that they could get in before the cloud cover came. they had to work quickly as well. if you can imagine landing in a helicopter and the plan was to land and there was so much unevenness, the helicopter couldn't land, so they were guys jumping out of a helicopter and landing on rubble fields. some of them landed in a river that was running through the landing zone. they get past that with no major injuries. that alone, is a feat.
10 feet is the size of a basque ball court. imagine jumping out of that into big boulders. then they look up, and this valley is just the mountains in this valley are a lot higher. they only looked at a satellite image. i can only equate standing in midtown manhattan and looking at the buildings. just being surrounded on all sides by mountains. they consolidate their men and start walking towards the village. when we say village, i'm sure in your head that you think that's i don't know what you see in your head for an afghan village. depending on where you are, it could be a mud hut -- but this village -- we use the word village loosely for this. it was stone houses. these were like castles stacked on top of each other that were mud all the way up. they were surrounded almost 360 degrees by stone houses.
as they are walking up, it takes them a little while to find a path. but they get to the base of the hill in the path pretty much cuts back and forth in a zigzag up the hill. you know that that is bad. there is only one way out. you know that you are in a cul-de-sac of a valley now, and they know that you are there. they heard the helicopters. if they hear helicopters in this valley, it is not them or their buddies. it is they're bad guys, right? it is really quite as they're walking up. all of a sudden, they see three guys running on the top of the valley and one of them has a gun. we will let mitch take it now. >> as they were climbing up the
mountain, they were really three teams. there was a team at the very bottom of the mountain. one team that was halfway up. and one team that was at the very top near the village. one thing that they failed to mention is that they went on this mention -- there were three teams that went on this mission. these were soldiers that the greenbrae had been training. this was their first real mission. these were not commanders only. you had a few guys at the top, if you guys in the middle, and you had a few at the very edge of this mountain. so there are three guys running. they knew that they were bad guys. he opened fire. what happened next surprised everybody on the team. you have to remember, a lot of
them had seen a lot of combat. this was their third or fourth tour of duty. they had been in iraq and afghanistan. it was a relentless qualifier. and they were shocked. it was just coming from everywhere. they were literally surrounded by this compound by these buildings that were carved into the rock. all of a sudden, everyone at once opened fired. and they knew right away that they were in an ambush. there were about two soldiers right above on a ledge, probably the size of the stage, and when they heard the fire, they had to get up and help fellow soldiers. when he got up there, he saw one
of the soldiers had been wounded. and i was the one there. and he saw his friend who was an interpreter. it was a close friend. he saw him there on the ground and he knew at that moment he was dead. as he got up on that ledge, he went over to help the older soldier who was wounded very bad. there was another soldier who was a combat cameraman who had just joined. he had been involved as a cameraman. they wanted to take pictures of the mission.
as he did, he was hit by a bullet as well and that set off this whole chain where they were surrounded by fire and there was no cover. there is truly no end. >> all right, well, we could tell you about the rest of the book, but then you wouldn't buy it. the dataset. we are going going to leave it at that. we will let you guys, hopefully, by the book. let's step back for one second on this mission. the afghan commanders were one of the key parts of this mission. at the time, this is their third mission. they were a brand-new unit. they were essentially created to carry out these high-value target missions.
they were mentored by american special forces. actually, this team was the first to go and mentor them. at this point, i have seen them in action a couple of times, they are a little uneven, but overall they have a good track record and reputation and this was one of their first missions. i talked to a few of those guys in 2010. a couple of commanders who were on this mission. much like the american soldiers, this mission resonates with them. with the amount of fire and trouble but they did encounter. what you need to take away, i think, or hopefully you take away, this partnership between the commanders and afghans and americans were important. it is the bedrock of what they're trying to cheat and afghanistan as we speak. it is what -- every single strategy that you hear about, especially right now, it is about this report and mentorship it is about this idea that you
can build the commandos to take over and the guys can come home. it is important to remember that when you read the book. hopefully do they not only take that -- do you not only take that away, but also that of the interpreters. the interpreters are some of the coolest guys you could spend time with. they get picked up by the other teams. they are usually young afghan guides would think that they are special forces guys. they swear like sailors come and address like special forces guys. the guys i was with in 2010 -- two years ago now, while -- we have two of them that were on the mission, they usually use aliases. there was little rizza and antennae. [laughter] but i just think that one of the
things that we think about very much is the relationship. the fact that you don't see that a lot. ultimately, it is important. this speaks to what is going on now. what you will see in this book, i think, is this trust factor. as they went-- as they win, they were fighting together. a lot of guys fight because they fight for the guide guy to the left and right of them. that is the most one thing at that time. it was the most important thing in the shok valley. it is the most important thing with men who are going out on missions. it is important that you realize that not only are they fighting for their american brothers but for the afghans as well.
>> we didn't want to give away too much of the book because we want to create a little bit of the suspense factor. i think what i want to do is go back to tell you what our core process was in writing the book. what we wanted to do was create a book in which he really cared about the characters. we didn't want the guys on the mission to be cliché. we didn't want them to be -- we wanted you to really care about them. so in this book we focused on a few of the guys to tell this really important story. as kevin said, a lot of it was guys fighting to the left and right of them. what was important in how we structured the book is how you
cared about them. we decided we would divide the book into five parts. the first part is called emission. during that, we focus on issues critical to a lot of characters in the story. i mentioned earlier about mike carter. this is a guy who is a combat cameraman. this is a guy who goes -- the guy who just on a base taking video -- working out in the field with soldiers on missions. we wanted to introduce you to him. to give some of his background, this was a guy whose first mission in afghanistan -- he was selected to go on this mission. when he gets there, he had all this camera equipment. think of every movie you have
ever seen -- in the jungle, thousands of cameras dangling -- when he arrived, he had all this equipment. the team laughed at him and said you're not pointing need this where you're going. so they stripped it down to just the bare essentials. he had a video camera, and really one camera. we wanted you to notice. we wanted you to know how he came from a proud military family from his grandfather who served in his father reserved. we wanted you to know john wayne waldon. this texas kid who joined the green berets. he was born on the fourth of
july. john wayne wadling in the special forces. a handsome guy. he just wanted to serve his country. we will introduce you to scott seymour. he is a team leader. and how he shaped this mission and other missions in afghanistan. he was the core. captain kyle walton, it was cooler than fire. he tried to keep his men alive in the heat of battle. how can i keep the men alive? even though they were overrun with hundreds of fighters above him. he worked to save them and fight to the death. these are the decisions they have to make. before we can get to the battle, we had to introduce you to them so you would care about the characters.
so that when they are in battle, you are were really there. you have an interest in them. the first part of the book was pretty mission. -- pre mission. how they raise some of the concerns with the commanders. the second part was the contact and the battle. imagine climbing a mountain straight up and digging your hand into the soil into the rock, and you're carrying over 60 pounds of equipment on your back. and you're climbing and climbing. and you know something is wrong because it's very quiet, and you know that there are people in the compound and you have a suspicion that they are waiting. we introduce you to that contact.
what happens when that first shot is fired, and how the wall of fire -- how the men were hit. some of them in the head because they can't tell what is going on. the first thought is not that i'm kid and am going to die, but that i am wounded and i'm going to keep fighting for my fellow soldiers. because i have that kind of kinship that was developed in that first chapter. then, of course, we talk about this good. it's difficult enough to climb up with all this equipment, and now you're going to have to find a way down when you are the target of enemy fire. how are we going to get down when you have severely wounded soldiers?
that part of the book deals with the escape. it also deals with the battle. the call to battle. and their plans. there is an expression about danger. that is when you have to give permission to drop bombs. the bombs are so close your position that you could be killed at any moment without any mistakes. when everything exploded, the feeling was shockwaves. taking you through that whole process, so they can escape and get through, and the aftermath which shows you what happens to the soldiers afterward and the epilogue about the soldiers and what they are going through now.
when wendy ridgway said tell the truth about the battle, one thing that we wanted to do -- we wanted to stay true. i think at the end of the day, we did. >> with that, does anyone have any questions to start? who wants to start off? >> a lot of things going on than are still going on now. what i was speaking about is some of the restrictions in ways that these guys are operating now. for example, in 2010, i will go back to that only because that is the stretch of my memory, but i remember one morning i was with this team. we waited until just dawn when the sun had popped up over the
mountains. those are disliked things that the soldiers have to deal with. they have to worry about -- there are no rules during operations. some of them are needed, i guess, in an arbitrary and restrictive way. that is one of the things they have to take into account when they're planning a mission. that leads to, i think, sometimes -- assigning risk to places that may or may not be warning. >> [inaudible question] >> the question is where do the rules come come from? >> i think the rules come from everybody. one of the things that the mission in afghanistan runs into is that there is a term called mission creep. it is a short definition. when a mission and an objective can be achieved or are achieved, and then in the middle of the mission they change them.
unfortunately, what is happening in afghanistan a lot is that the mission changes yearly or every couple of years to what you're trying to achieve. right now, guys are working hard to try to achieve an afghan government with an afghan security force that can take care of itself. >> the mission was part of the taliban. i said this in an interview a couple days ago. i think what needs to happen is that they need to come up with a plan and stick to the goal. whatever the goal is, come up with a goal and don't change it. one of the things that's about the only time that we edit anything in this book, we mentioned this a couple times -- and we hit you over the head with this, so forgive us. if you read it, forgive us.
it is this. it is aimed at policy makers. not military leaders. but policymakers need to remember that when you tell the military to do something, no matter what, they're going to die trying to do it or they're going to do it. be careful what you tell them to do. be very sure when you tell them that's what you want done. that he wanted done. and don't change it on them in the middle. they're going to work hard to do it, but don't wait and make sure that you have a solid gold. >> [inaudible question] the question is about
counterinsurgency. you look at turner and surgeries he -- counterinsurgency. it's hard to describe. some of your soldiers are some of this once in the battlefield. they can do the diplomacy. they can do the rapport building. that is why they are in these villages. they are doing these operations. i think they are in an important force. they are the bedrock of this strategy. i've seen them here. the difficult thing is to -- let's say munro, the leader, you guys realize that they have a great program. we have a security force, the taliban state senator, this is a great success. when we go down the road a little bit, and it is a disaster, the telegram was there, you can't root them out. and all of the things that are working for me in here don't work over there.
it is a different tribe. they have different problems and values. that is a dilemma. there is no link at strategy for afghanistan. it's just too difficult. is it horrible? i don't know. it depends on what you are talking about. again, they work and we will see. >> [inaudible question] [inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> most of the answers we gave her one on one. most of the interviews we gave her one on one. there were also interviews, i
think, that can attest to the fact that i think probably had over 20 hours on the telephone and they were talking over and over again. and i think if you are a really good reporter or journalist, you have to build rapport and you start to build a friendship. at first, they're not going to tell you that is afraid. they're not going to tell you what they really thought. on the battlefield. after a wild, soldiers began to open up. and they start to tell you what was going through their minds. clearly, there were soldiers who fought there were not going to make it out. i remember john wayne wadling, he felt as though he was lying there -- in his a .. a bullet in the leg and it was
nearly severed, then he had to -- what he did was unthinkable and dragged himself to stay in the fight. he took his lower leg, he took the boot lace and qaeda to his stock. he was going into shock. the tourniquet was not working. and he thought he was going to die. he was getting cold. the one medic who was there was treating others. he was probably the distance between that podium and this podium, he still couldn't get over it. at that point, he realized this could be it. and he started thinking about family. and he started thinking about
his wife. more important, he thought about his grandfather. his grandfather was a tough guy. east texas guy with a wild cat attitude, who took him and his brother when they were kids. and his grandfather was a great spiritual mentor. as he's on the mountain and thinks he's going to die and he's thinking about his wife and small children, he started thinking about his grandfather and what a wonderful person and inspiration he was. auntie channel that. he channeled that. it helped keep them alive. a lot of his will. he wanted to stay alive. he wanted to keep fighting and fighting. >> that it's not something that
you get right away, that something good from hours and hours of interviews. i wanted to know what they felt. the human emotions. the others who were wounded have those same kinds of thoughts about their own mortality. there were times when people die up there and they are fading in and out of consciousness. they pray. he said god,. [inaudible] a second later, the medic said you have to keep away -- you have to keep awake. you have to gain their trust. >> [inaudible question] >> in afghanistan? >> that is a tough question.
right now what his mission? what i am being told now and what i understand the mission of being in afghanistan now is to assist the afghan government into being a legitimate government and build up their security forces so that they are able to fight for themselves. >> sex. >> honestly, it doesn't do normal soldier. i don't think he gets up in the morning and thinks i'm going to get after it for hamid karzai and the afghan government. what's important and what he should think about, he thinks about his job. he thinks about the things he has to do. that day on that mission to make sure that not only he gets backo the base, but also his unit gets back safely.
his unit and put to think about well, and they are are all on the line. in theory, it should work out right. i don't think they were spent a lot of time doing that. that is what the policymakers are for in washington. that is why they have to be very conscious and very deliberate when they assign things to the military. >> [inaudible question] the question is what is in average day for a soldier in the special forces? >> it is not like this. it is not like shok valley. a team that is in a village on an average day, if you are a medic, you might open up your clinic and you will have people that come from the village and you help them went minor
injuries were sick illness. if you are an engineer, you might be working on the primitive base. if you are the team leader or captain, you are doing planning. when we talk about restrictions, to leave the base to go on a mission, you have to spend. [inaudible] it is a variety of things. part of that planning is smart. forty-five flies is excessive, even to me. and it is. and it is a burden. it makes it difficult to get out. but that is taking up a lot of time of the planners. really, what they are doing best, what the afghan guys do on a daily basis is training. their training.
whatever unit they are with him in there with the commandos. they are training them to do something. they're going through and training with marksmanship. if there was an afghan civil order please, they are teaching them how to search or stop vehicles. stuff like that. if they are in a village from their meeting with the elders. maybe they have a village meeting. it is really fascinating, and therefore, none on. the special forces is a big mission. >> [inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> that is a good question.
it is a simple one line answer -- there is no legitimate government in afghanistan. the communist government is pretty centralized. is there one now? no. i think one of the issues that the operations are trying to bridge this local government to the national government. it depends on who you ask. there was one who said the only evidence i see of the villagers is he teaches kids. that speaks to the fact does
this unit region to every village? no, it doesn't. we have your member is this. it's not like iraq. there are no highways in afghanistan. there are roads, barely. [inaudible] it is a funny way of saying it, but in reality, this is a country that has been through decades of war that is bombed and thought itself into oblivion. there are no roads. there is very little infrastructure to speak up whatsoever. and i think if you speak of it within that frame of mind, and you say to anyone, to manage to build a government and local government and security forces and roads and sewers and power and etc. -- i think that it is a tall order. it is a tall order. unfortunately, i don't think
there is a history of legitimate structure rising. >> [inaudible question] >> i think the question is was the mission investigated? and there was a historian who was asked by one of his commanders who was asked to write about the mission in shok valley. and what that historian did was, he started interviewing some of the men on the mission. he started looking at does a lot of things that we did. talking to people who are involved. what we realized early on was that his mission could have been
a disaster. this mission could've been a disaster. it was a miracle that helicopters were shot down. it was a miracle that this unit wasn't wiped out. it became a passion for this historian, to tell what happened and to show the topical areas that were -- tactical errors that were made. including landing at the bottom of this valley. you know, it reached a point where he talked to dozens of men. and his commander said, look, i'm going to write a report based on talking to all these people. i want you to know that it is
going to be less than flattering. his commander said, write it up. write right at all. and he did. .. .. days before he was set to retire from more than 30 years in the military. and we talked to him, talk to him at length. he did not have a copy of the report and obviously that was one of the things we wanted to look at and wait asked the audience for a copy of the report and they refuse. they basically said well there were flaws in the report. it is still in draft form and we are just not going to release it to you but the one thing that stuck with me was what he said come he wanted this report to stand for 20 years so that some of the mistakes that were made in this battle in planning would not be repeated again.w
>> he does anyone know how many different tribes there are there >> does anybody know how many' tribes there are in afghanistan? you and i may for example on the same prize i may not like you, so these go on and on. on a don't understand afghanistan, i've been there a couple times. i don't get it completely but it's a tough country to read your head around. but there are guys that speak the language and they do a pretty good job, but again, -- >> [inaudible] >> yes, from a light understand still around. i think he is still at large at
this point. hopefully she's got a copy of the book. >> [inaudible] >> do i need special training to be embedded in the group? i can't comment on that. not really. i do have some training i got from reporters my first was in iraq in 2003i was a brand new reporter on the job about two months we had a reporter rotate back and i took her spot and i got there just in time to read to tell a quick story, into kuwait catching up and they handed me a gas mask and says you look like about a large and
he says when you hear the siren put the mask on. you are not sure just run to whatever crowd as of the first time i started focusing, i'm ready for it to hit. he's got one of those syringes and i've got this on sitting in this bunker and i know it doesn't fit so that's about my training right there. [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> this lack of the education heard our chance to change the government considers our chance to lot of things. i don't -- i think it's a huge issue and a part of this book mitch did great work on what the
guy's face when they are the trained commanders. do you want to speak to that? >> in the microcosm in afghanistan and one of the guys was training his unit for intelligence work, and he starts talking to them about the basic concept and says let's draw a circle and a square and show them how to do some basic reconnaissance stuff and he realized none of them could draw a circle so basically he had to become an elementary schoolteacher and he had to teach them how to draw a circle and a square, how to draw a triangle and then go to the next step. one of the things he talked about on education they were being trained in these missions
to drive from fees and other vehicles and having had a driver's license they know. so in the book we illustrate some of the problems that a lack of education really hinder in the unit especially to get the commanders in the field and they only have a few weeks to do this and they don't have the basic skills to to take for granted. >> thank you for coming. we appreciate you coming out and hope you enjoyed the book. if there's anything else we will be up here for a little bit if you want to ask questions. >>
corral so here he. we knew he was making outreach early on to al-shabaab in somalia. we knew he was in bold in these things mediums and other individuals but he was there doing that. the consequence is no surprise when you're talking about a global ideology. bin laden was relevant. >> well serving in iraq, navy s.e.a.l. chris kyle had more kills than any sniper in u.s. military history. in his autobiography, he writes about his early career as a professional rodeo rider, the challenges of becoming a s.e.a.l. and his experiences in iraq. this is an hour.
>> chris kyle why did you decide to join the navy? >> guest: actually i grew up thinking the marines were the biggest baddest guys on the block and i always wanted to be one so i went to enlist and try to become a marine.re the marine recruiter was out to lunch and then in the strip mall all of a sudden k there, you hae got the army recruiter in there, navy recruiter coming out and trying toto be snipers themselvs and pick you up and get you to comean to them. i talk toto each one of them an, the navy recruiter sold me on being a s.e.a.l.. host: a >> host: at thatnd moment youte knew you wanted to be a s.e.a.l.? elling me which, of course, the recruiter built it up to where it was more of a jason bourne type thing, but he definitely sold me that the navy seals, they do all this stuff that you never hear about and all this great adventures, and you're going to be the most highly-trained person out there, you're going to be able to have
all these skills shooting and hand to hand, so i thought, all right, that sounds great. if there's a best, then i want to be the best. >> host: what was your training like? >> guest: well, the initial boot camp to become a seal is called buds, and that was, basically, felt like seven months long standing there with your feet shoulder width apart getting kicked in the junk. it sucked. it was just wet and sandy every day, and there were times during buds i thought about quitting, but, you know, i don't know if it was just i was too lazy to get up from where i was and go find the bell to ring it, but somehow i managed to make it through. >> host: when, when did you serve? >> guest: i went in '99 and then got -- in february of '99 and got out in november of '09. >> host: chris kyle is the author of a 13-week bestseller. it's called "american sniper: the autobiography of the most lethal sniper in u.s. military
history," and he is our guest for the next hour here on booktv on c-span2, and we're going to put the numbers up on the screen if you would like to talk with mr. kyle. 202 is the area code, 737-0001 for the eastern and central mountain zones, 737-0002 for those of you in the mountain and pacific, and we have set aside a line for afghan and iraq vets in active duty, 202-628-0205. you can also contact us electronically, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or you can send a tweet to twitter.com/booktv. chris kyle, in your book you write that you were not the best shot at all. in your class. or at, before you went into the seals. >> guest: no, sir. i never claimed to be the great itself sniper. -- greatest sniper. i was, you know, through sniper school i was middle of the pack
when we graduated, i almost failed out of sniper school. it's just everyone tends to think when you get these number of kills that all of a sudden you're this great sniper, and that's not the measure of a sniper. the measure of the true greatness of a sniper is to roll everything all in one. i mean, it's the stalking, the observation, everything. and that's why in my mind carlos halfcock who, you know, i think it's 93 confirmed kills, i think he is the greatest sniper ever in history. and not just america, all over the world. he's the guy that would go in by himself, you know, sneak in, take his shot with a lot less, you know, capable weapons than we have today and optics, but he would take that shot and then sneak back out undetected. and i think that's the true measure of a sniper is being able to get in, identify your target, take the shot and get out. >> host: jim erickson sends in an e-mail to you, mr. kyle, how many unconfirmed kills do you
estimate you have, or were all of yours confirmed? did you ever train with the m25 white feather rifle? >> guest: no, i never used that rifle, and as far as the unconfirmed kills, you never count those. it's -- there's no point in trying to keep track of what could have been or might have been. you're just wasting your time. and your whole thing is you're out there to try to take, you know, these bad guys off the streets and make it safer for your guys and allow some more of your guys to be able to make it home. i mean, the ideal thing if i knew the number of lives i'd saved. because that's something i'd love to be known for. but you can't calculate that. >> host: what was your reaction at the time to a kill? >> guest: i mean, when you're looking at these people, you're not thinking of them more or less as people. they're a target because, you know, most of the time they're there actively engaging, trying to kill your guys.
so you're trying to see yourself as a guardian angel to protect the guys on the ground who are in danger, and you just have to dehumanize it and remove yourself from it, otherwise you don't want to think about, you know, do they have a family, what's their job, and what have they done. you're just trying to, in your mind, think i want this guy to be able to go home, my guy. i want him to safely be able to go home, so i'm going to take out this target to allow him to do that. >> host: where did you serve? >> guest: iraq. >> host: for -- when? >> guest: i was over for the invasion in '03, went back in '04 and then was attached to the marine corps for the battle of fallujah, sent back to baghdad and then on to has been knee ya -- habania, did a little bit for the elections and went back in the '06, i spent all that
time in ramadi for the battle of ramadi, and went back again in '08, was sent out west, but then they sent out a call for seal snipers to come to baghdad and help secure the green zone by going into sadr city. >> host: chris kyle, why did you leave the seals in 2009? >> guest: being a seal, it's extremely tough on your marriage. i mean, we've got extremely high divorce rate. it was about 95% divorce. and my wife and i constantly struggled trying to keep the marriage afloat, and even when you're not deployed, when you come home, your training is not at home. so you're never really, truly home. and it was causing stress on the marriage, and then it finally got to the point to where i needed to decide, is it going to be god, country, family, or is it going to be god, family, country. and i chose to hang it up and quit and give everything back to my family now.
>> host: and your wife is tia? and you have children as well? >> guest: yes, sir, i do. i have a son and a daughter. >> host: george learner e-mails in to you, mr. kyle: after returning to the u.s. numerous times, did your tours have a regressive impact on your family, and if so, what did the military do to ameliorate it? >> guest: well, the first time i went over it was definitely difficult because at the time we weren't really getting the coverage over there, we weren't being able to watch it as far as all the support behind the troops, but it was everybody protesting us. so we felt like america was against us. and we thought, this is going to be a vietnam. when we come home, are people going to spit on us. but then towards the end of the deployment, you know, we were able to get a few more channels and see a lot more of the actual coverage that was going on and all the support, so it definitely helped it out.
but then when i came home, it was difficult because you leave from a war zone one day, and then you're home the very next day. they just fly you straight home. and it takes you a little bit. you know, i would always -- you have about a month off to where you just reacclimate yourself, and i'd always spend about a week at home and just hang out with the family, try to get to know 'em again and hope that my kids weren't afraid of me and they remembered that i was daddy. but, you know, especially the first time i was a little upset coming home, and i saw everybody doing their day-to-day, normal lives and was thinking y'all don't even know there's a war going on. there's people dying. but as i continued doing this, it came to the realization that that is why we're doing it. we're over there fighting so everybody can lead their normal, day-to-day lives. that's what it's all about. >> host: chris kyle, what was your first confirmed kill?
>> guest: we were in the city ahead of the marines, and we were just trying to soften up some of the locations for 'em. we weren't going to make it safe, but just try to make it, you know, as little as possible, add something to it. and while in the city, the marines started to approach, the people came out to show that they were supportive of the military, they weren't going to fight, and at that time there was a woman that came out, and she had something in her hands. i was watching her. i was relaying back to my chief everything that she had, and what she was doing. he informed me that it was a chinese grenade and told me i had to take the shot because she started approaching the marines. at this point i'd never killed anyone, so it was definitely made me pause, but also the fact that it's not a man, it was difficult. so we tried to radio the marines to let them handle it.
i didn't want to have to be the one to take the woman's life. we couldn't raise them on the radio, so i ended up having to take the shot. but in my mind she, she was dead anyway. she was either going to kill herself by the grenade being a suicide bomber, or she was going to die by my bullet. and i would rather shoot her than to sit there and watch her blow up the marines. >> host: chris kyle writes: as the americans organized, the woman took something from beneath her clothes and yanked at it. she'd set a grenade. i didn't realize it at first. looks yellow, i told the chief, describing what i saw as he watched himself. it's yellow, the body --
>> host: first call for chris kyle comes from arthur in norfolk, virginia. go ahead, arthur. >> caller: hey -- thank you for your service, everybody's service in iraq and afghanistan. my question is, if you could speak to the gold star mothers and wives on behalf of their sons and daughters who died over there, what would you tell them about, about the war and about why their sons and daughters died? >> guest: well, i mean, i appreciate their sacrifice and, in fact, i'm very close with some of them because some of those sons that did die were my guys.
and i remain close with those families. as far as telling them their sons or daughters' sacrifice and was it, was it worth it, you know what? any war no matter where it is, not a single american life is worth it. but for the overall cause to be able to make a place safer in the world, i mean, these guys and girls are out there putting their lives on the line, and they are true heroes. there's no pause. they're out there because their country sends you out there. and you don't have to believe in the war, you don't get to choose where you go, it's just you have that sense of honor that you are going to serve this country no matter where the congress tells you or the president tells you that you're going to go, you just go. you do your duty, and you're fighting for the guy or the girl on the right and left of you. you know, when we're out there, i wasn't really fighting for
iraq. and i hate to say it, but i wasn't really fighting for america. i was fighting for my guys. i wanted to make sure every one of those guys came home. >> host: chris kyl writes: the reminder of what we were fighting for caused tears as well as blood and sweat to run freely from all of us. >> host: and then, mr. kyle, in a different chapter you write: >> host: they
>> host: glenn in freeland, michigan. you are on with chris kyle, "american sniper." >> caller: thank you, gentlemen. my question for mr. kyle is in the wake of the trayvon martin case and, um, the shooting at the college in oakland last week, i think it was, and a zillion other cases like that, virginia tech and those kind of cases what does he think of this kind of hypergun culture we have in america where, basically, anyone who wants a gun can get one and use it if they like and, specifically, what's his opinion on gun control? thank you very much. >> host: mr. kyle? is -- >> guest: i am 100% behind the second amendment, the right to own and bear arms. i mean, i'm here in texas, and that is a big part of the culture here. it's my right to be able to have it. but it's also everybody's responsibility to learn the safeties and learn everything
about those weapons. there are certain people that don't deserve the weapons. the people who are going to go out and actually act stupid. now, as far as the trayvon martin thing, i haven't kept up with that, so i can't tell you everything that's going on in there. i haven't heard all the facts, and for the most part, i've heard one of side of the story, so i can't comment on that one. all these school shootings, yeah, especially out in california i know it's difficult to be able to carry a gun, only a few people are legally going to be able to do that. so i don't know why this guy was doing that, but apparently, gun control though itself, the only thing it's going to do is take the guns out of the law-abiding citizens. the criminals are still going to have 'em. >> host: carl from murray, kentucky, e-mails in to you, mr. kyle: what inspires you to write the autobiography? >> guest: actually, i was dead
set against it. it is something that i felt like these guys who got out and did this kind of thing, they were selling out. and i did not want to be a sellout. it's, basically, taking my try dent and -- tridepartment and cashing it in for some publicity. i was completely against it. but then as i found out there were two other authors who were actively seeking my story. they were going to write the book. and if book was going to be written, i wanted to make sure it was done the right way. i didn't know someone else writing a book about me and it being another chest-beating story of, hey, look at me, look at what i've done. when i wrote it, it gives the credit to the proper people, the guys around me that were the true heroes, and the only reason i even look good is because of those guys and their heroics. so this story gives credit to those, whether it was the seals, the soldiers or the marines. those guys that fought around me, beside me, they were awesome, and i owe them everything.
so i am calling them out and putting them up on a pedestal, letting everybody know, hey, this is what goes on overseas. because this -- the stories in my book, they're not just unique to me, a seal, they are unique to every combat vet. these are the hardships that they face. they may not have gone through the exact same story as i did, but very similar. so this is just raising the awareness of, hey, look what your troops are going through over there. but then the same time you hear my wife, and she's telling the hardships of the family back home. because when someone deploys and goes overseas to fight a war, it's not just them that's in this fight now. it's the entire family that's left behind. so i just, this whole, the whole point behind this is to kind of knock myself down because, you know, i don't even care about the numbers, i don't want the hype, but i will stand up, and i will be an activist for the vets to make sure that they get the proper thank you.
and, you know, today there's a lot of lip service, and i'm not saying people don't mean it when they say it, but going up in an airport saying thank you definitely means a lot to the guys, but why can't we take it a step further and show our thanks? you know, random acts of kindness. you don't even have to give money, but mow their yard, cook them a meal, baby sit so they can take a nap or go on a date. just little random acts of kindness to actually show your thanks, and that's going to blow 'em away. >> host: chris kyle, this week is very much written in the vernacular and a lot of swearing in this book. >> guest: yes, sir. and in the military there is a lot of cussing. that is part of the military culture. it is a rough, gruff type of society, and we're not politically correct, so it's -- i don't talk like that on a daily basis, especially now here in the civilian world, but there in that time it's, it's also kind of a way of stress
reliever. you're constantly in hectic situations, and this is a way of, you know, just voicing it and getting it out and then moving on. >> host: you write about how your wife, tea, heard one of your fire fights. >> guest: yes, sir. it was definitely something that i never intended. i didn't realize that the phone wasn't turned off, but i also thought i was calling at a good time, usually at night we're not attacked, and it just so happened this night we were. unfortunately, she was still on the line. >> host: and what was her reaction? >> guest: well, definitely upsetting. i mean, there were several times to where when i would call home and when she would answer the phone realize it was my voice on the other line that she would cry. there was a couple times, too, where in a helicopter crash i would always come back and tell her in case you see it on the news, because the media calls
seals special forces. special forces are what everyone calls the green berets. special operations or spec-op s, that includes everybody, seals, rangers. so i would always come back and say, hey, i was in a helicopter crash, in case you hear about it, we're fine, no big deal. and another time i wasn't able to call her back, and i wasn't in the helicopter crash this time, it was actually sf guys, and it went down, killed everybody onboard. and same thing, when i called, she broke down. >> host: how many helicopter crashes were you in? >> guest: two. >> host: how many times were you injured? >> guest: several. i don't exactly know how many times. >> host: were you ever shot? >> guest: i was shot twice. >> host: where? >> guest: i was shot in the -- well, i took a round across the top of the helmet, took one in the book and then one in the side.
>> host: how long did that put you out of service? >> guest: well, fortunately for me it was, you know, either superficial wounds, but the one in the back especially was, you know, hit the body armor which slowed it down just enough to where it was just, basically, just barely punctured my back. it was no big deal. so no time, it was just get it cleaned up, and you're right back in the fight. >> host: mark in virginia beach, you're on with author chris kyle, former navy seal. >> guest: hey, chris, how you doing? hey, listen, i just appreciate so much your work that you've done as active duty, and you talked about, you know, not wanting to cash in on your trident and all that other stuff, but what do you think about people who leave active duty and then continue their work as a contractor? i mean, what's your thoughts on that? and what's next for you in your life after the book? thanks a lot for your time.
>> guest: thank you, sir. as far as the contractors, i mean, you've got these guys that this is what we're trained to do, and some of the guys have degrees, some of the guys don't, but this is what we know, and it's what we love. and then you go in to be a contractor, and you're -- one of the biggest things you miss when you leave are the guys. you hate to give that up. so if you go be a contractor, you're surrounded by those guys again, and then you can kind of do some of the same style of work. it's mainly protection, but at least you're getting paid extremely well, and you're spending time back overseas with your guys again. you know, i respect that. the job's going to get done, so why not be the one to make the money doing it? i mean, not all these contractors out there are these wild cowboys that are just shooting everybody up. there's only been a few incidents or some incidences to where someone's gone off the reservation and done something stupid, but for the most part
these guys are out there every day trying to help out still, and you never hear about it because they're not messing up. and as far as me, i'm kraft international which it does have a contracting side, but i am the training side. we train the military trying to give back to 'em, help them prepare before they deploy, but also law enforcement. helping those guys. they are going to, they are the first responders here, and i want to give back to my community and make sure these guys are prepared. not that i am a one-stop shop. it's, you know, you come here and now you know everything, but at least i have another tool for you to put in your tool box that, hopefully, it comes in handy and helps somebody out. and then we also have the civilian side to where the corporate retreats or take you out to be marksmanship training to where we have all these machine guns. you can go out and things that you can't own the company does own, and we can bring them out, and you can shoot belt-fed
machine guns and have fun. >> host: chris kyle, you have a photo of charlie platoon of seal team three, and several of the faces are blacked out. why is that, and did this book have to go through official vetting? >> guest: yes. those faces are blacked out. you know, some of the faces blacked out the guys are out, but out of respect for them i wanted to protect their identity, but also the guys that are still active. i mean, we do try to conceal our identities. we're not out there saying, hey, look at me, i'm a navy seal. and as far as going through channels, yes. when the book was written, it was heavily involved with some of my buddies helped me with the different stories because i couldn't remember all of 'em. so they were relaying some of the stories back, and then all of a sudden it jogs your memory. but then i had to turn it into the dod, department of defense did their check over it. it did go to all the seal teams, and everybody you've worked for
gets their chop on it to make sure you didn't say anything that was classified or anything that, you know, you're gonna -- more or less you don't want to hurt a bunch of feelings if you don't have to. >> host: was anything taken out of the book, the original manuscript? >> guest: there were a few things taken out, yes, sir. >> host: lisa, burlington, north carolina. you're on booktv with chris kyle. >> caller: hello? >> host: lisa, please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hello? >> host: lisa, we're going to move on. kay in omaha, nebraska. good afternoon. >> caller: hi there. i just wanted to thank you. i never call on the phone and that, and i was just getting ready to hang up, but i just wanted to know that my dad was post commander of the american legion, and on memorial day we all marched out to out of town in that and went up to the cemetery and paid our respects, and the guys shot off the guns
and that, and is it was just so awe-inspiring for me as a kid to see this. and my grandmother was post commander of the american legion for the women. and i just wanted to say that it's coming up now, and i'm going out there and march by myself in that. thank you very much. >> guest: well, thank you, ma'am. and thank your family for everything they have done and are doing. i really appreciate it. that's one thing that we do as a family on memorial day, there's a national cemetery out here, and we take the entire family out there, and we'll find a tombstone and lay a rose on it. and it's to show the kids that we are honoring these guys who have come before us and paid the ultimate sacrifice, and i want them to understand it and be supportive of the military. you don't have to support the wars, i don't care about that, but the men and women wearing
that uniform are true heroes. like i said before, they don't decide where they go, but they're willing to do whatever their country asks. >> host: chris kyle is joining us from dallas. and daryl in freemo, this -- fremont, california, you're on booktv talking with chris kyle of "american sniper." >> caller: hey, how you doing. >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: can you hear me? >> host: we're listening. >> caller: all right. i just want to let you know that i do appreciate all that you're doing for our country and other countries because it's very important to have someone like you available, and i know that all you guys risk every bit of your lives just to do this. and i just want to, you know, just cry out for you that when some come up missing, i do have worries in heart because, um, it
takes you to help keep it straightened out and to a level that we appreciate every bit of your skills. because that is the most important, key factor to winning the wars, and i just want to the let you know you're my hero, and you will always be my hero. my dad fought from 1941 to 1944 in the war, and he's my hero today. you know? and i wish they would open up doors better for you guys to receive compensation for what you do because, you know, it's gallant. and my dad today, he's lived to see on may 4th 90 years of surviving that. so i just want to let you know, you are appreciated. >> guest: well, thank you, sir. i really appreciate that, and i really respect your father for everything he's done.
and i to longer wear the uniform, so my heroes are all those men and women wearing it. and the men and women that have come before us. they have definitely set the bar high, and those are some high standards to try to live up to. >> host: chris kyle, are there any female snipers? >> guest: not that i know of. as far as i know, being a sniper is still being on the front line, and the last that i was told any, anyone in combat the closest they could get to being on the front lines as a woman was to be a pilot. >> host: next call for chris kyle comes from from dave in ida bell, oklahoma, on our iran -- sorry, iraq/afghan vets' line. go ahead, dave. >> caller: good morning. i'm a seven-year veteran, been deployed -- 12-year veteran, been deployed seven times, i was a force scout marine and a navy
corpsman. i understand everything you're saying, i'm right there with you. thank you for showing me the way, because i failed out of seal school, but i graduated marine force school. i was right there with you, brother, fallujah and baghdad, sadr city from 2002 to 2009. >> guest: well, thank you for all your service. and, you know, failing out of seal school that's -- you know, just because i made it through seal school doesn't make me any better than anybody else. it was just different strokes for different folks, and there are definitely some outstanding people in all the other branches, even just regular grunts. i mean, there are some true fighters and warriors there, and, you know, i just respect the hell out of everyone wearing that uniform. >> host: this e-mail from john of san francisco: mr. kyle, have you read "jarhead" by anthony swaf ord?
if so, what did you think of this book? >> guest: honestly, i haven't. most of the books -- well, i've read carlos halfcock's because, you know, i idolized the man, but other than that most of the books i've read were all fiction. it was usually reading about mitch wrath and all his duties that he was doing out there. but, in fact, i wasn't even a big reader. >> host: what about marcus luttrell's book? >> guest: i did read that. marcus is a good friend of mine, and i definitely wanted to support him, so bought the book. i definitely read it and, you know, it's a tough one to read, but i appreciate his story. and, again, in that book he's not saying, hey, look at me, he's trying to highlight the friends that he lost and show the true heroes that they were. >> host: next call for chris kyle, "american sniper," comes from julio in chicago. good morning -- or good
afternoon. >> caller: good morning. um, mr. kyle, i saw you on your previous publicity tour on "the o'reilly factor", and you had mentioned you had punched governor jesse ventura. now, i saw an interview where governor ventura said that incident did not take place at the bar in california. now, it's obvious someone is lying. it's either you or governor ventura, so was it -- what was going on here? did this incident happen? if not, why would you call out a navy seal, someone who is well respected and a big public figure like governor ventura? >> guest: my intention was never to call him out. it was -- happened on the opie and anthony show. a caller called in and said, well, tell 'em this story about this. because there were other people that know this that were there, but as far as anything else, i'm not even going to talk about it at this time.
>> host: and you do write about jesse ventura in your book, and he -- did he not sue you? >> guest: oh, he is. >> host: and that is unsettled at this point? >> guest: yes, sir. >> host: venture or rah, california, ralph, you're on the line with chris kyle. >> caller: yeah. kyle -- i'm a marine '68-'70, so i know who you're talking about when it comes to vietnam. my question for you, though, was talk a little bit about honor. civilians don't seem to understand what it means in the military, especially the seals, marines, special ops forces, what honor really is. thank you. >> guest: well, thank you for your service, sir. and i apologize for the reaction you got when you came home. as far as the honor, it's, you know, when you -- that flag is flying and the national anthem is playing, i feel chills. and sometimes i get a little
choked up. it's everything that flag stands for. there are guys who have died to be able to -- to allow me to be at that sporting event or wherever i may be and hear that song and see that flag. it's, i mean, you are willing to put everything on the line, you're willing to die for your country whether you believe in the cause or not just because your country says we need this. you're going to do something for the greater good. and that was one of the big things i had a problem with when i ended up getting out of the military is my whole job, it was all for the greater good. it was for everybody in the country. and now that i'm a civilian, it's for my own good. so it definitely caused some problems, and i don't know, i mean, i grew up extremely patriotic. i love this country, i love the troops even before, you know, i enlisted. but i don't want really know how
to explain -- i don't know really how to explain it. it's just a burning sensation inside you that you love this country no matter who's in charge, if you're democrat, republican or what or how bad you think things might be here. this is still the greatest nation in the world. i mean, there's no other place i'd rather be. so it's just that love of this country, and you're willing to do whatever the country asks of you. >> host: where did you grow up, and what were you doing before you joined the navy? >> guest: born and raised here in texas, i was born in odessa but then moved when i was young. my dad worked for the phone company, so we kind of moved around all over texas. when i graduated school, i ended up going to college at this -- it was a smaller college at the time, and it was down in stevenville, texas. and when i was down there, i was working on ranches. i decided that i was going to, you know, i had two dreams in
the life. one was to be a cowboy, and the other was to be in the military. so i was down there doing some rodeos and working on the ranches and figured why do i need to be in school? so i did, i get college and just kept working as a cowboy for a living traveling around texas on different ranches and new mexico, colorado until eventually i figured out, all right, well, i've done this long enough. i have one other dream, so now it's time to go do it. >> host: who are scott mckind and jim defeliz? >> guest: scott is a lawyer in san diego. he's a man that i met through another former team guy that, you know, being around and hearing some of the stories from some of the guys and talking with me he's the one that approached me and said you need to write a book, and i want to help you do it. so he got me in touch with harpercollins who ended up
wanting to publish this book, and then jim defeliz is the actual author. he's the man that i spent the time with, extended periods of time sitting down relaying all my stories back to him, and he would record it, take notes and then writing it back into a story format that, you know, would try to grab the reader and get my points across. >> host: edward in houston, please, go ahead with your question or comment for chris kyle. >> caller: yes. what i, what it was was i'm watching your program right now, and i wanted to find out if there was any information on the company that he mentioned earlier that he can send me through the mail? my computer's not exactly active, so i'm trying to find out as much information as i can on the company that he mentioned about. >> host: why is that, edward? >> caller: well, it's something that i've been curious about for a while, and i never really had
to do with it raising a family or anything like that. now that i'm older, i'm thinking about it, but i don't know if i'll be able to follow through, and i'm just curious about it. and i wanted to find out if there was anything he could send me or any information he could give me. >> host: chris kyle. >> guest: well, i think you're talking about kraft international, the company i mentioned earlier. the training side that's, basically, the military outsources a lot of its training. it's awarded to dod contractors that they'll send different units to places all around the united states. there are several training companies, and we just happen to be based in the texas. we have facilities elsewhere throughout the united states, but we're training these guys not only this sniping, but offroad driving, tactical driving,